Thursday, December 14, 2017
Politics

Hillsborough Clerk of Court

Democratic incumbent Pat Frank faced her first primary challenge since she was elected clerk in 2004 and she handily defeated County Commissioner Kevin Beckner. In her bid for a fourth term as clerk, the long-time politician will face Republican Eric Seidel, a first-time candidate and lawyer best known as the former consumer reporter for WTVT-Ch. 13.

About the job: The Hillsborough County Clerk of the Circuit Court is tasked with administrating the court system, keeping Board of County Commission records, auditing the county and maintaining the county's finances. The position pays $159,980.

Pat Frank

Party: 

Democrat

Profession: 

Clerk of the Circuit Court

About the candidate: 

Frank, 86, was first elected court clerk in 2004 after spending six years on the Hillsborough County Commission, three as chairwoman. She previously spent 12 years in the Legislature from 1977 to 1988, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate.

Education: 

University of Florida, B.S., business administration; attended Georgetown University School of Law (no J.D.)

What do you view as the most important function of the Clerk's office? 

"To preserve and protect the public trust."

How do you see technology changing how the Clerk's office operates and interacts with residents in the next 10 years? 

"We are rapidly moving toward a paperless office and most business will move online, whether making payments for fines, fees and costs or locating and viewing officials records and court documents."

What initiative or program would you undertake to improve the court system as it relates to the Clerk's office? 

"Digitizing 2.5 million court files kept in a warehouse so that these approximately half-billion pages can be placed online for easy, efficient public access."

Does the Clerk's office have a role in improving racial and income disparities in the criminal justice system? 

"Maintaining a friendly, professional environment where every citizen, regardless of race or income level, can achieve justice with impartiality."

Assets/liabilities/ income: 

Assets: $3,263,331 Liabilities: $749,540 Income: $349,377

Personal: 

Home: Tampa Widowed Adult children

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $153,732 Expenditures: $139,575

On the web: 

Website: patfrankclerk.com Twitter: @patfrankclerk

Eric Seidel

Party: 

Republican

Profession: 

Lawyer

About the candidate: 

Seidel, 54, was a consumer reporter for WTVT-Ch.13, the local Fox affiliate and now works as a lawyer in Tampa. He has never run for political office before.

Education: 

University of Miami, B.A. communications; Nova Southeastern University, J.D.

What do you view as the most important function of the Clerk's office? 

"Timely and accurately carrying out duties as the recipient, custodian and provider of legal records and files of all types is one of the most important duties of the office, and I possess the formal legal training and expertise necessary to carry out this critical function."

How do you see technology changing how the Clerk's office operates and interacts with residents in the next 10 years? 

"Enhanced online communication is important to maximize positive client/citizen experiences online with the latest mobile responsive technology being employed whenever and wherever possible. The Clerk's office can improve communications for better community outreach with explanatory video production and social media programs that help explain sometimes difficult to understand legal processes."

What initiative or program would you undertake to improve the court system as it relates to the Clerk's office? 

"Establishing 'flex time' for employees to offer expanded hours would serve the needs of our citizens with jobs and families of their own which demand time. We must explore all ways to reduce burdens on our citizens, including having a friendly and efficient greeter at all points of public interaction."

Does the Clerk's office have a role in improving racial and income disparities in the criminal justice system? 

"The Clerk's role should be color-blind — offering fair and impartial service to each and every citizen as quickly and as efficiently as possible while adhering to fair employment practices for all."

Assets/liabilities/ income: 

Assets: $933,483 Liabilities: $229,088 Income: $86,589

Personal: 

Home: Married to Dayle Green Seidel One child

Campaign fundraising: 

Contributions: $115,227 Expenditures: $78,765

On the web: 

Website: ericseidelforclerk.com Twitter: @ericseidel

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